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Barnsley's generation game

13 December 2013

  • Young playing and coaching talent developing in Barnsley thanks to RFU initiatives
  • Using RWC 2015 to inspire 16-24 year olds to return to the game as part of RFU Lead Up and Legacy programme
Barnsley College players with RFU RDO Andrew Gilmore Appleyard

Photo: RFU Archive

With help from the RFU, Barnsley College has created an incentive programme which has increased numbers at rugby training, developed qualified coaches and provided students with work experience opportunities to assist the next generation of rugby players.

As part of the “RFU College Summer Rugby” project, in which colleges receive funding for hosting rugby training over the summer, existing and new students were invited to attend training sessions during July and August. Those who achieved a 90% attendance level or above were then put through three coaching courses free of charge.

Rugby Ready, Scrum Factory & tag rugby courses have all been held at Barnsley College, with 20 students gaining at least one qualification and some students achieving qualifications in each course.

The qualified students will now gain work experience with the RFU and local social enterprise Team Active, who will manage the team of students as they coach tag rugby in local primary schools. As part of the initiative, the RFU has provided rugby equipment for the colleges’ training sessions as well as shirts for students who are coaching in the local schools.

Barnsley College lecturer, Tom Bridges, said: “This is a great step for rugby union in Barnsley, successfully increasing participation of 16-21 year-olds, recruiting coaches and referees and growing the game at primary school level.”

This project is part of a wider RFU initiative aimed at retaining and recruiting 16-24 year olds to help develop the game. Bringing back players from the 16-24 age group is a major strand of the RFU’s Lead up and Legacy work, with at least £500k being invested into Constituent Bodies for the delivery of innovative projects to achieve this.

RFU Community Rugby Coach Andy Gilmore Appleyard said: “It’s been a pleasure working with Barnsley College. Their facilities are second to none and the staff and students are extremely keen to develop rugby. The lads have a focused approach to their rugby but they also want to put something back into the game and develop young players, which is great for the growth of the game.

“Separate to the boys’ rugby, there are a number of girls who have trained through the summer and now have regular rugby sessions with Tom Bridges. All of the girls involved are linked to Barnsley RUFC girls section, which is fantastic for the women’s game.”